Taiwan Headlines, Mar. 25, 2021

A Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation poll has turned up some interesting results.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) approval rating has shot up over 7 points to 58.4 percent, the highest since last August.
Her disapproval also plunged over 10 points to 27.1 percent.
Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) popular support and dissatisfaction rates were 54.4 percent and 33.1 percent.
In terms of party support, the DPP held basically steady at 43.1 percent, while the KMT continued its nearly two-year slide, hitting 19 percent.
This is in spite of 63.8 percent saying are dissatisfied with the government’s policy of allowing imports of pork containing traces of ractopamine, with only 27.6 satisfied with the policy.
Asked if they would support overturning the policy in the referendum on Aug. 28 referendum, 62.3 percent of respondents said “yes,” while 30.8 percent said “no”.
According to the poll, 62.4 percent said they would likely vote in a referendum over the matter.
Similarly, according to the poll, 53.8 percent of respondents said they would like to see the algal reef referendum pass, while 24.9 percent said they would not.
In short, the KMT has hit on some issues that are popular–but it has failed to generate support for the party.
This suggests that on the issues that matter significantly to voters the DPP still holds the cards and these issues aren’t powerful enough to move the needle in terms of support.

Broadcasting Corp of China Chair and self-declared 2024 presidential candidate Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康) is making some unusual moves.
Jaw previously had expressed interest in running for KMT chair this July, but faced two problems: he wasn’t on a major party committee and he hasn’t been a member for a full year.
The KMT moved to solve the first problem by choosing him to the Central Advisory Committee, but prior to the formal letters of acceptance were sent out, he told them not to bother since he can’t run for chair anyway.
This is interesting, because that suggests that he expects that the party wouldn’t give him an exemption like they did for Terry Gou to run in the party’s presidential primary in 2019.
Either that or he plans to put his support behind another candidate, and if so the most likely candidate would be former presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu–who himself has been unusually active on Instagram and in the media recently.
Whether Han will run is a big matter of speculation in the local media.
His recent actions suggest at very least he is sounding it out as a possibility.
Meanwhile, Jaw said that “very few” members of the KMT Central Standing Committee are backed by popular support.
It is “unknown” what contributions a majority of them have made to the party or to the nation, he added.
“Every party chair since Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) is responsible for the KMT Central Standing Committee sinking to the low where it finds itself today,” Jaw told reporters.
He also suggested structural reforms, including that committee seats should be filled by nominees from KMT-governed cities and counties.

He said these proposals would fill the committee with members who reflect public opinion, as these positions have the most direct contact with the public.
Unlike the advisory committee he was nominated to, the SCS is the party’s top body.

Two F-5E fighter jets collided in mid-air off eastern Pingtung County during a training mission.
One pilot survived, the other didn’t.
The F-5 fighters are now used for training, are quite old and have been plagued with problems.
Indigenously developed fighters are on their way to replace them, and have completed multiple stages of testing–but it will still be some time before they are finished testing and enough are produced and deployed to replace the F-5s.

In business news, industrial production last month rose at an unexpected 2.96 percent year-on-year, as stronger demand for chips and LCD panels boosted manufacturing production.
Similarly, export orders received by Taiwan-based companies grew for the 12th consecutive month in February, hitting a historical high for the month.
The figure is the best February performance in the nation’s history.
However, the nation’s unemployment rate last month climbed to 3.7 percent, ending six straight months of decline, as more people changed jobs.
The unemployment rate rose 0.02 percentage points from one month earlier, but fell at the same pace after seasonal adjustments–in other words it is basically stable.
Meanwhile, the Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute raised its forecast for GDP growth this year from 3.1 percent to 4.4 percent on the back of strong exports.

By 玄史生 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16096324

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